Cursing Gravity

“Cursing gravity
You can disdain gravity all you want, call out its unfairness, seek to have it banned.
But that's not going to help you build an airplane.”  Seth Godin.

It does seem what God often chooses to do is to leave a limitation in place, to permit and require us to learn to cope, endure, even thrive in its presence.

The limits of anger

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. (James 1:19-20)
A word many in our time need to hear, I think. Contemporary politics, both right and left wing, seem shaped by the belief that pure and uncompromising anger against wrongdoers on the other side is what is most needed.

A similar perspective from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... an unuprooted small corner of evil. 

Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.” 
God's truth will illumine many falsehoods, the ones inside us and the ones inside others. Let us oppose falsehood, seeking God's grace to constrict it within us; praying for our opponents that God would enlighten them.

A dialog with and about God

Lord, I believe you love me beyond my wildest dreams. Why then do you not give me what I want? Not because you don’t care. I know you are capable, you who speak the word and the thing exists. It must be that you deny what I want because you know that won’t satisfy, that won’t be the best for me. I know too how often choosing the distractions I want produces boredom, not joy. Help me really get that today.

Lament and Hope

Lament and hope seem opposite but actually fit together. To lament, to say I am disappointed how things are, comes from my hope they will be better. To conclude that life is a mess and never getting better is not the spirit of lament, but of cynical despair. I wouldn’t lament if everything had gone wrong and I had no hope, I’d seek comfort in distraction.

Apathy

Some days the desire to not care is strong. The principles of faith seem old and tedious. Yes, I know all that, nothing new there.

Now and then I wonder. I've learned that God has given us this life as something like a training exercise, to learn that in the stresses and shocks of things we cannot control, we can learn he is with us. And in the future, we shall see him face to face and know like we are known.

This life is short and temporary when viewed from an eternal perspective. But in the here and now perspective (the one I consistently experience) it seems long and dull. I attempted to pray yesterday, with a little success. What difference, I wonder, does one day's success or failure at prayer, at walking with God make? If it is the height of faith to continue in the belief that God is with me even when I don't feel it, is it possible for me to assert that I am with God even when I don't feel it? God's word is true whether I feel it or not. And God's word for me is I was chosen to be holy and blameless in his sight.

I can't think of a Psalm that echoes this emotion. Psalm 43:5 says "Why, my soul, are you so downcast?", but I'm not aware of one that says "Why, my soul, do you care so little?'

Another new Psalm

Oh God, you see my troubles. How small they are.
How small they are when I think of my brother, my sister held captive.
Yet those troubles too are small compared to You.

How easy for you Lord, to say one word and set the captive free.
Somehow the time for that word is not yet.
This moment, you choose to show your power
By secretly sustaining their soul in outward weakness.

So many things I’d like.
Yet how little really is missing from my life, when I have you.
Only for a short time your great overflowing abundance is hidden.
Open my eyes, my heart to know it’s really there.
What do I really want? You. Help me see that.
Help me take your words to heart.

Hope

A short story

Evan closed his now empty desk drawers and stood up. Like the drawers, the desktop and the walls were bare. The computer would be wiped clean and show someone else’s desktop before this day would end. All he had were the two cardboard boxes of books and personal decorations on a dolly. Now push to the elevator, descend, load boxes in the car and drive home. Behind him this office would show no trace he’d been here.
He sighed. He’d come here thinking he could make a difference, make this division a better workplace. But the old ways were surprisingly strong. Work, work, work, don’t show you have a life outside the job, it’d be seen as weakness. People had written him off, then he’d gotten a few people to begin to listen, started having meetings people enjoyed rather than dreaded. THen the CEO and board chair must have decided he was a threat and ought to go. Change exactly as they wanted it, no more. Of course they said nothing at all like that had happened, they were restructuring because of the changing global marketplace, and promised him good recommendations. He didn’t believe them.
What was the point of big dreams that led nowhere?
“Lord,” he prayed. “Help me remember what I sensed yesterday,” he said, remembering his prayers last night. “I should look to you for affirmation, not to my bosses.” He wanted to say it was one thing to labor on without much encouragement, another thing to be laid off, but he really knew God was faithful in either. Being laid off felt a lot harder though.

But in heaven it would feel different. “Thanks for trying,” Jesus might say. “You knew things could be better and you tried to make it happen.” Of course, he hadn’t always gotten it right. But Jesus was the only one who had always gotten it right. Of course he’d approve of an honest effort, coupled with a willingness to admit shortcomings. So he could walk out of here with his head high. Not just the “don’t give them the satisfaction of showing they got to you,” spirit, but in a “I did well. I didn’t get the result I hoped for but I tried.” In heaven, all those tries would be remembered. How many others had tried and failed to make a difference where they were? In heaven, they would see the results they had hoped for. So keep trusting, don’t lose hope.